Some Notes on the Murder of Theys Eluay in 2001


Published on

Some notes on the murder of Theys Eluay, leader of the Papuan people, on 10 November 2001 by Kopasus soldiers

Published in: Education, Travel
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Some Notes on the Murder of Theys Eluay in 2001

  1. 1. 1More on the Murder of TheysEluay, Chairperson of the Presidium of the Papua Council,on Heroes Day, 10 November 2001, in Jayapuar, West PapuaTuesday, 12 March 2002,The KPN, the special national investigation commission, set up by President Megawati,is now on the track of investigating not only the brains behind the murder, but alsopossibilities of government departments or army sections which ordered the murder.Elsham will come with a detailed report by the middle of this month.In the meantime the judge in the court session against three PDP (Presidium Dewan Papua orPresidum of the Papua Council) members pronounced them guilty of high treason (makar),which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years. The judge said, according to theCenderawasihPos, that he would not give a punishment because these acts of treason, theorganization of Mubes(MusyawarahBesar or Great Consultation) and Second Papua Congress,took place in public with support from the police, the army, including the Pangdam (PanglimaDaerah Militer or the Commander of the Military Region of Papua and the Moluccas) and theIndonesian Government. This is the reason why, though guilty of the offence, they will not besentenced (“tidakdipidana”). This is different from an acquittal (“pembebasan”). The differencebetween one and the other is important.The Jakarta Post mentions, wrongly, that the three defendants have been acquitted:Papuan leaders cleared off all chargesR.K. Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura[From: 5 March 2002]A district court in the easternmost province of Papua acquitted on Monday three pro-independence leaders of the Papua Presidium Council, who had been tried on charges ofsubversion.What does this mean? If the judge has the guts he should bring the army, police and theGovernment to court for high treason. But the definition of high treason excludes suchpossibilities and also the law. The verdict may also imply that in the past the previousGovernment, that of Gus Dur, was wrong in allowing the Papua Congress, the Morningstarflagand the PDP. The present Government, of Megawati, takes it seriously and now these actionsare really high treason. So the PDP may have to be disbanded. It also means that the three whoare now convicted still have to be considered criminals who have committed a very seriouscrime. It may have for instance a negative effect on the career of Don Flassy, who is secretary ofBappeda. Another problem with the verdict is that if this becomes jurisprudence it will lead to avery undesirable situation. The murderers of Theys are brought to court. The judge says on thebasis of this verdict: We declare you guilty but there is no sentence as you have done this withthe connivance of the Government, the police and the army! The defendants should appeal, justas the public prosecutorsSome more details about TheysEluay(in response to comments on my article about Theys in Inside Indonesia of April 2002):Theys took the show serious, when he went to court sessions or when he was called by thepolice to present himself. He usually went there with three truckloads of black shirted satgasPapua, bravely waving the Morning star flag. This outfit had little to do with adat. He wore asmall cap with a feather and shorts; He was bare breasted, with some neck chains. He lookedmore like an American Indian or a hippy of the 60s than a traditional Sentani leader, who used towear bark cloth.Herman Awom gave away a similar show. He went in December 2000 in his ministerial gown tothe police, with the bible in his hand, to be imprisoned, accompanied by the members of hischurch council. Also in court sessions he would wear his gown and was then very similarlydressed as the judge. The judge, who is a Christian, did not like this at all and went in person tothe chairman of the Synod to complain.The business links of TheysEluay still have to be researched. George Aditjiondro found a linkbetween Yorris and one of the main donors of the Kopassus. None of my sources havementioned Theys involvement in business. He is not known as being rich, like for instance Bas
  2. 2. 2Suebu, the former governor. The main issue, I think, is the source of money for the satgas ofTheys and of his foreign journeys, which did not have much result. Yorris offered the money at atime when the Soeharto family had money available to create chaos in the country to prevent atrial. At the time, attar the visit of the Tim Seratus to Habibie in February 1999, TheysEluayproclaimed himself, all of his own, as “the Great Leader of Papua People(PemimpinBesarBangsa Papua, with the same initials as the United Nations) he also appointedYorris, leader of the PemadaPancasila, close to Soeharto, as the representative of theDewanAdat Papua outside Irian Jaya (Papua).The murder of Theys is different from previous murders, because of his role in the struggle of thePapuans, at least as it is perceived by the foreign media and by foreign governments. Themurder would be an “uncomplicated story”. The murder on 26 March 1999 of Obed, a Me(Paniai) lecturer of FajarTimur for instance, did not lead to protests outside the Me communityand the community of students of the Catholic theological college, where he had been teaching.Obed had a master’s degree from Washington University. Nobody has any idea why he wasmurdered. The journalist for Kompas, also from Paniai, Octavianus Mote, who was doingresearch on the case was threatened and had to flee. He is now in America. Two witnesseswere also eliminated and the third fled for his life. 27 February 2001 a minister fromKampungHarapan, Robert Ongge, 33 year old, was shot dead in broad daylight by police in theshop of his in-laws in Abepura. He had studied theology in Yogyakarta and after graduation hadworked for years in Jakarta, and married a Chinese girl there. He had two children. He had justreturned from Jakarta when he was killed. The perpetrators were never brought to court. Thepolice commander said his men shot because they were still young and inexperienced. This allwas "uncomplicated”, that is it went unnoticed by the international community. There are moresuch cases.The “disappearance” of the driverThere were people, using cars and motorcycles, with red number plates (i.e. government ownedvehicles) searching for Ari after his disappearance. Cars and motorcycles went at nighttimealong the small dirt road alongside the house of the parents of Ari at KampungHarapan. Thereare, however, five witnesses who have seen Ari enter the Kopassus headquarters in Hamadi,which, by the way, is at the same place as a logging company owned by the Soeharto family.People, and also his parents, fear that Ari is dead.I have been wondering why Ari did go to the Kopassus. He could have sensed that they werethe perpetrators. Could it be that he considered the Kopassus as his friends?There have been several stories going on about possible motives of the murderers. But severalof these theories were seen as drawing attention away from what from the beginning was seenas the real perpetrators. CenderawasihPos interviewed some young and pretty TV and moviestars in Jakarta who revealed that they were very close to "Om" Theys, implying that womencould be a factor in the murder. Kopassus had spread before the murder photos of Theys withnaked girls. YanekeOhee did not like this and she found consolation with four Kopassus whogave her pastoral counciling. They ate and slept in Theys house when he was away in Jakartaor Timika. The main thrust of the story of Elsham is that the murder was organized at theinstigation of elements in the central government, which want to maintain the national unity,whatever the costs.The role of the satgas Papua, an initiative of TheysThere were different types of satgas. Theys had Satgas, many from the Tanah Merah area ofDemta and Depapre. I have not noticed any tribalism. I have also not heard that Papuans wereintimidated by Satgas. It is true that Papuans, Satgas and non-Satgas have been pesteringshopkeepers, asking for free cigarettes and money to buy a drink. They focused in particular onthose shopkeepers who did not give job opportunities to Papuans. Ones basic attitude towardsPapuans made the difference between having one’s shop burnt down or not.It is clear that the Satgas never enjoyed the immunity of the army and police.The Satgas never formed a serious threat to the migrants (“pendatang”). The "pendatang" canroughly be divided into three groups. One group is the transmigrants that received a plot of landwith a title deed and a house in a remote place. Most of these are Muslim and they remain poor.They live in a kind of enclave. They live too far from town and are too poor to become a factor inthe equation of the struggle for the emancipation of the Papuans. The urban migrants can be
  3. 3. 3divided into two groups: Muslims and Christians. The Papuans have not much difficulty with theChristian migrants who come from areas where they themselves are a threatened minority likeAmbon, Saparoa, Tanimbar, the Kei islands, West Timor, Flores, Minahasa, Toraja and theBatak area. These migrants understand the feelings of the Papuans well and are even willing tobe show solidarity with them. The largest groups of the Christian urban migrants are the Torajasand the Menadonese with the Ambonese coming third. The Christian migrants share their wealthwith the Papuans in their contributions to the Church. Some take the biblical demand that theyshould share 10 % of their wealth literally! I estimate that one half to two third of the income ofthe largest church in WP, the GKI, comes from congregations dominated by migrants. Half ofthis money is channeled back to the poor presbyteries of Papuans in the interior. TheseChristian migrants know that the strange logic of “spy war” could mean that they become the firsttargets, not of the Papuans, but of the “provocateurs, the militias etc. to drive a wedge betweenthem and the Papuans. They should show solidarity with their Muslim compatriots against theprimitive, dangerous Papuans.The migrants have remained in control all the time. Only 3 % of the Papuans are in governmentservice. 80 % of the army and police consists of non-Papuans. There is only one Papua judge.Very few Papuans occupy any of the top posts outside the church. Posts like bank manager,head of Bappeda, Dandrim, Kapolda, Kapolres, and Pangdam are occupied by, in most cases,Muslim migrants. There are hardly any Papuan shopkeepers. No Papuan garage owners,owners of carpenters shop, blacksmiths, repair shops, VCD rental shops etc. Even the fleshtrade (prostitution, massage, karaoke, bars) does not employ Papua girls. Papuan women havethe pinang street trade, but not exclusively. The women also sell, like in our village, Yoka, palmwine (saguer). Young Papuan men are now seen as parking attendants. This brings in Rp 1,000for each parked car. This is a lot of money. These parking attendants are the last memory of theSatgas Papua, who once claimed the streets of the towns back for the Papuans. But in theeconomy in Papua Province these economic activities remain very marginal.The amazing thing is, in fact, that the Satgas were, generally speaking, nonviolent. It could havebeen quite different. There always was the understanding among Papuans that the Papuanstruggle was to be peaceful. It was in fact a religious struggle, comparable to that of theIsraelites who were led by Moses out of the bondage of Egypt. Theys and the other PDP leadersover and over stressed the non-violence. Those Papuans who may have wanted violence wereaccused of being traitors to the Papuan case, hired "provocateurs.I see the Papuans in the first place as victims. There is a very high death rate among them. Theeducational and health services are very poor and benefit disproportionately the migrants. Theaggression is elsewhere. The police is never eager to find the murderers if the victim is a Papua.Almost every year a Papuan was murdered in the pasarSentani, in the four years we lived inSentani. Only in one case there was a retaliation by Papuans. The three Papua murderers of aBugineseojek driver were sentenced and imprisoned. Police sya they were unable to find theBuginese murderer of a Papua in the pasar.On Saturday 10 November the Kopassus celebrated “Heroes Day” at their barracks in Hamadi.The people who were invited had some link with the integration of Irian into Indonesia in 1963.According to people present at the party for the "heroes" of Irian Jaya, the commander of theKopassus got his microphone and said loudly goodbye to Theys when he wanted to leavearound 10 oclock in the evening. "Goodbye to the Great Leader of the Papuans. Have a safejourney home." Now people feel that this was to warn his men outside to be ready. A few daysafter the abduction and murder Kopassus soldiers were seen cleaning the place of the abductionin Skyline very thoroughly.I see it as a form of Papuan creativity to turn a bad thing into something different. It was arguedthat Theys should be buried near the DPR on the waterfront of Jayapura. Then some coined theidea to have a Papuan Heroes Acre, just like the Indonesian army has it in Abepura, next to themilitary prison. Arnold Ap and Thomas Wanggay should also be reburied there. The governmentin Jakarta cannot be very happy to see so prominently the elaborate grave of Theys, decoratedwith Morningstar flags, at night illuminated with numerous lamps. It is clearly visible foreverybody who enters Jayapurafrom the airport, as the field is just at the junction of the airportroad and the main road to Jayapura.
  4. 4. 4The Morning star flag also still flies defiantly, half-mast, at the house of Theys in Sentani, nowwithout the Indonesian flag.